Wing Walker and Daredevil Bonnie Rowe

Bonnie Row hangs from an airplane by his feet in the 1920s. Image from History of Hapeville, Georgia.On May 4, 1932, Bonnie Rowe, legendary wing walker, was killed performing a stunt in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He was 37-years-old. He had almost been killed two years before in Lenoir when, upon opening, his parachute split in two places.

Rowe, who had his roots in North Carolina and had lived in Charlotte, had had moved about a year prior to his death. Married to Alexander County native Florence Pool, Rowe met Pool when he was hurt performing a stunt in Gastonia. She nursed him while he recovered. The two were married soon after, much to the surprise of the Taylorsville community.

A World War I Navy veteran, Rowe starred in Mabel Cody’s Flying Circus and performed more than 12,000 jumps. He was known for performing other stunt, too, including running along the top of a speeding train to grab a ladder hanging from beneath an airplane.

The Charlotte Observer reported that at his death Rowe was hanging from the undercarriage of a plane, lost his grip and plunged to the ground.  Although Rowe’s widow and son remained close to their family in North Carolina, they lived in Georgia for the rest of their lives.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.